Deli Meat Sandwich - ©

Study ‘Ratifies’ Link Between Heart Disease, Processed Meat!

We’ve been hearing from learned investigators for decades that there’s a dangerous link between of consumption of processed meats and development of heart disease. The experts have wavered back and forth about whether such a link exists and, if so, how strong it is. Until now…

Red Meat Array - © caloriesecrets.netWhile the new McMaster study clearly condemns processed (i.e.- Deli) meats
as contributing to cardio disease, more research is just as clearly needed
into the effects of non-processed meat in general (shown above).

Researchers from Canada’s McMaster University say their latest work has ‘ratified’ the long-help belief that regular consumption of processed (i.e.- ‘Deli’ meats; see photo, top of page) meat is strongly linked with the development of heart disease.

Up to now, the jury has remained out – or at least seriously divided – on that question. But the McMaster team says it’s globally-framed study on more than 130,000 subjects confirms that consumption of a relatively small amount of processed meat can dramatically increase your chance of developing heart disease.

“Evidence of an association between meat intake and cardiovascular disease has been inconsistent. We therefore wanted to better understand the associations between intakes of unprocessed red meat, poultry, and processed meat with major cardiovascular disease events and mortality,” said Dr. Romaina Iqbal, first author of the study.

What they did

According to an abstract of the McMaster study, the information comes from the diets and health outcomes of 134,297 people from 21 countries spanning five continents, who were tracked by researchers on the The Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiology (PURE) survey of data on meat consumption and cardiovascular illnesses.

The PURE study was launched in 2003 and is the first multinational study that provides information on the association between unprocessed and processed meat intakes with health outcomes from low, middle and high-income countries.

“The PURE study examines substantially more diverse populations and broad patterns of diet [than previous surveys], enabling us to provide new evidence that distinguishes between the effects of processed and unprocessed meats,” said McMaster study senior author Salim Yusuf.

What they found

After following the participants for almost a decade, the researchers found consumption of 150 grams or more of processed meat a week was associated with a 46 per cent higher risk of cardiovascular disease and a 51 per cent higher risk of death than those who ate no processed meat.

The takeaway

“The totality of the available data indicates that consuming a modest amount of unprocessed meat as part of a healthy dietary pattern is unlikely to be harmful,” said study co-author Mahshid Dehghan.

My take…

As usual, the otherwise-shocking McMaster study also ‘ratifies’ my long-held belief that the best overall policy in any life decision is ‘moderation in all things’.

I agree heartily that, as conclusive as the McMaster study is about consumption of processed meats, “It is unclear what study participants with lower meat intakes were eating instead of meat, and if the quality of those foods differed between countries. Non-meat food substitutes may have implications in further interpreting the associations between [overall] meat consumption and health outcomes.”

I’ll let you know when I hear more…

~ Maggie J.